A new analysis shows the average salary for an Iowa teacher has slipped from 34th to 38th in the nation. Linda Nelson, president of the Iowa State Education Association — the teachers’ union, says the report shows pay for Iowa teachers rose about one percent from the fall of 2002 to the fall of 2003. “This is the lowest average increase since we began compiling our salary report in 1970, so we really do find it alarming,” Nelson says. She says teacher salaries in Iowa aren’t keeping up with inflation. According to a National Education Association report, Iowa teachers have lost 148-dollars in purchasing power from 1970 to 2004. Nelson says teachers and others in the education community will ask Iowa’s governor and the state legislature to make teacher pay a higher priority. “Despite all the talk and political promises that we’ve heard from those (who) have been elected to the legislature, we still have not made progress,” Nelson says. “We are actually moving backwards.” Nelson says Iowa joins West Virginia in earning the “dubious distinction” of recording the largest single-year drop in salary rankings. Nelson also says while teachers are under increasing pressure to improve student achievement, funding for professional development was eliminated by state policymakers. The average teacher salary in Iowa for the 2003/04 school year was 39-thousand-four-hundred-32 dollars. That’s about 73-hundred dollars below the national average. Nelson also points out that pay for superintendents increased four percent while teachers’ pay went up one percent.
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